“The Bells and Whistles” (aired 3/26/13)
When Episode 8 begins, we see the hothead Jimmy butting heads AGAIN with the hothead Derek at rehearsals of “Hit List.” In the previous episode (Episode 7 “Musical Chairs”), their tension had risen to a new level when Derek told Jimmy that even though Karen has quit “Bombshell” to work on “Hit List,” she isn’t up for grabs, since he (Derek) is fixated on her. So with that said, Jimmy isn’t a huge fan of Derek, both personally and professionally.
Over at “Bombshell” rehearsal, Ivy is rocking it as Marilyn. In the previous episode, when Karen, Tom, Derek, and others went to see her in “Dangerous Liaisons” on Broadway, Karen realized Tom and Ivy have a much better connection than she and Tom do, and since Tom is now the director of “Bombshell,” it’s the best that she quit the show. So Ivy now feels much more comfortable doing the show, now that Tom is her director and Karen is out of the picture. We never hear about what happened to “Dangerous Liaisons” or her crazy costar Terry Falls, but we assume the show bombed at the box office and Terry went back to LA.
Tom is a friendlier, happier director – but he doesn’t have much control over his actors. Julia winces as he bends over backwards for Ivy, promising to find a scene in Act 2 where she can take a break, and promises other actors that he’ll give them more lines. Julia isn’t excited to change this show so Tom can cater to “the kids,” and things get more complicated when Sam comes back to town for a week-long break from his tour schedule with “Book of Mormon.” Ivy brings him up to rehearsal, where he awkwardly says hi to Tom (if you remember, they dated for a bit before Tom pushed him to take the “Book of Mormon” role). He says he can find a role for Sam in “Bombshell,” since Sam wishes he could come back to do the show with his friends. This gets Sam excited – in more ways than one – and worries Julia.
At the “Bombshell” cast party that night – who throws a random cast party? Especially when the cast for this show keeps changing? Anyway, at the party, Sam sings a song that Tom and Julia wrote for another show about Vegas in the 1960s that was apparently terrible – sounds like that CBS show “Vegas,” which I thought was terrible. It’s a fun number and the actor who plays Sam, Leslie Odom Jr., is great at doing the old school style of singing and dancing throughout the apartment. It’s this fun, random performance that seals the deal – Tom definitely wants Sam in his show, and tell him to call the Mormons and tell them he quits! Julia is now hyperventilating.
Let’s talk about Eileen. Now that evil Jerry is totally out of the picture, thanks to Eileen’s daughter (played by Meryl Streep’s daughter Grace Gummer) getting involved in the war between mother and father, Eileen is back as producer of “Bombshell” and she has no time to waste! Her publicist is played by Daphne Ruben-Vega, another “Rent” alum guest starring on this show, and she is a fast-talking, no-nonsense, Bluetooth-wearing diva who reminds Eileen that “Bombshell” NEEDS good publicity. Eileen calls Richard, the Arts Editor at The New York Times, and begs him to do a (positive) story on her show, now that it’s shaping up.
This is when the episode starts getting good and everyone starts getting PISSED at each other. When Eileen comes to rehearsal, she’s extremely mad at Tom for giving Ivy the day off, especially when Richard is coming any minute to see her and the rehearsal! Richard and Daphne Ruben-Vega walk in just as Eileen is screaming at everyone… not good for her and the show’s image. To overwhelm Tom even more, Julia says that there is absolutely no way they can give Sam a role and change scenes around. Tom knows this, and admits that he misses him (plus, it didn’t help that they slept together after the party, so now things are weird!). Tom and Julia confront a very excited Sam and tell him that they can’t put him in the show, and then Sam becomes pissed because he just quit his other job for this! Get it together Tom!
Richard tells Eileen that if she really wants a story on her show to happen, they need a different angle. She doesn’t want to bring her daughter into this, even though Richard thinks it would be a great story: mother and daughter take down evil father to get show back. This gives Eileen an idea… not about her daughter, but about someone’s mother doing “Bombshell”…
Julia tells Tom that a director needs to be a leader. She takes him for a walk… and brings him to the “Hit List” rehearsal, so he can learn a thing or two from Derek. Just as they arrive, they see Derek fighting with Jimmy and with Karen. They agree, along with Jesse L. Martin’s Scott, that the big LED screens that Derek has ordered for “Hit List” just aren’t working. They’re too glitzy for a small, heartfelt show. Derek storms off in a huff, and Tom follows him out so they can bond together about directing on a stoop. They have a nice moment when Tom reminds Derek that he used to be just like Jimmy when he was 24. He then gets up and leaves without saying goodbye – Why does everyone on this show, and many other shows do that?! It’s not realistic! Say “I’ll talk to you later” or something!
Anyway, while at the “Hit List” rehearsal, Julia spots Scott, and things get awkward. They converse in private about how 15 years ago Julia had written a great play that was going on at Lincoln Center, and had promised Scott that he could direct it. That never came to be, because she was offered Mike Nichols to direct, and she had to accept. That then threw Scott’s career to the side, while Julia became successful quickly. She apologizes, and knows that she should have apologized 15 years ago instead of telling herself it was just show business. God, don’t you just wish your fights with your friends sounded this cool?!
Back at “Bombshell,” Tom is now WAY more focused. He says no to Ivy’s wardrobe requests and to her idea about a break in act 2. He tells Julia to work on the scenes that involve Gladys, Marilyn’s mother, and Julia happily accepts. Eileen comes in and tells Tom that Ivy’s mother, Leigh Conroy (played by Bernadette Peters, who appeared in the first season) is interested in playing Gladys in “Bombshell” opposite her daughter. Tom, now feeling like the man in charge that he’s supposed to be, tells Eileen to hire Leigh, without checking with Ivy first.
Jimmy does a cool performance at the “Hit List” rehearsal without the silly LED screens, and he seems comfortable doing it the way HE wants. The choreography and the song itself are pretty awesome, and as Karen stands there on stage longing for him, in character, she also starts falling head over heels for him in real life. When they’re all at a bar, she tells Ana, her roommate and “Hit List” costar, that she is totally into him, and Ana suggests that they both be brave: If Ana asks Derek to give her the diva role in “Hit List” instead of the sister role, Karen should ask Jimmy out. Ana then breaks into a cover of “If I Were A Boy,” dancing on the bar like a less slutty version of “Coyote Ugly,” impressing Derek.
Derek gives Ana the diva role, pleasing everyone. He was originally thinking of casting a celebrity, like Lea Michele, in that role, but realizes Ana’s got what it takes. This success prompts drunk Karen to ask Jimmy if he likes her, but he doesn’t answer quickly (probably because of nerves) and she then stomps off with Derek. As Derek drops her at her stoop, they share a slightly romantic moment, and for a second there, you think he’s actually going to go inside with her. But Karen is a good girl and goes inside alone. Just as she enters her apartment, the buzzer rings, and she thinks its Derek wanting another drink. BUT it’s Jimmy! He runs in, they make out on the table, his shirt comes off, fade out. I think we all knew this was coming since the minute Jeremy Jordan was hired on this show.
“The Parents” (aired 4/2/13)
The morning after. Karen walks into the kitchen to start breakfast, followed by Jimmy, wrapped in a blanket. They talk about how it’s 7AM and they went to bed at 6AM. I would not be smiling like that if I just had one hour of sleep but whatever. Suddenly there’s a buzz at the door and it’s Karen’s dad! Quick Jimmy, ya gotta go! Karen forgot that her dad was in town for a conference, so she pushes Jimmy out the window as he quickly gets dressed. Just as Karen’s dad enters, he spots a man leaving via fire escape, but doesn’t say anything about it.
At “Bombshell” rehearsal, Ivy’s mom keeps calling Ivy’s cell phone, but Ivy keeps ignoring it. Little does she know that Leigh is right behind her, and pops out when Eileen, Tom, and Julia tell Ivy that they found the perfect actress to play Gladys. Not Patti Lupone, but your mom! Ivy tries to hold back her frustration when Eileen explains that Leigh is a big draw for Broadway audiences. Leigh wants to make sure she has her daughter’s blessing, and Ivy accepts this casting news, basically because she’s been put on the spot and has to accept it. Richard from the New York Times is doing an article on the mother-daughter divas for the cover of the Arts section.
Over at “Hit List,” Karen & co. are gearing up for their fundraiser party tonight, and Scott decides he wants to add the diva song to the event. Ana is overwhelmed by this sudden news, but is willing and excited to get her spotlight. As Jimmy strolls to rehearsal late, still high on life from his night with Karen, he sees the drug dealer he’s had run-ins with before. He runs into the theater the back way, but is surprised to find the guy inside, and he wants what Jimmy owes him. Maybe this will explain why Jimmy is so mad all the time??
As we’ve learned this season, “Smash” only has room for one celebrity guest star at a time, which I guess is a good thing. First it was Jennifer Hudson, then Sean Hayes, and now it’s Bernadette’s time to shine. Leigh tells Sam that it was Eileen’s idea but ultimately Tom’s decision to hire her as Gladys. Sam, still upset with Tom about hiring and then firing him, tells Ivy this secret. Um, why is Sam even hanging out at “Bombshell” rehearsal? Go home! Eileen asks Julia if she wants to go with her to the MTC fundraiser for “Hit List” tonight, and because Julia wants to try to smooth things over with Scott, immediately accepts the invitation. Perfect way for the gang to all be together at another party!
Tom gets weirded out when Ivy and Leigh play an angry scene as a loving one. He can tell that it’s too awkward for them to just let loose, so he tries to use their tense history as a way for them to express their feelings. This turns out to be a big mess, as they make fun of one another in front of him and the rest of the cast and crew. It gets ugly when Ivy makes her mom look like a monster, always upstaging her since she was a child.
That night at the fundraiser, Jimmy awkwardly asks Scott if he can have money up front for working on “Hit List,” but Scott has to remind him that MTC is non-profit. He says that all this fancy people at the party “keep the lights on” by donating money. Jimmy, obviously stressed by his drug dealer, needs to think of something fast. Richard arrives at the party and immediately flirts with Eileen. Ooh la la, conflict of interest.
Ana does a SICK “Hit List” performance for the crowd, flying through the air, wrapped in fabric, like Pink has done many times. It’s so good, that Richard wants to see more of the diva, so Scott thinks its best if they add more songs for Ana and beef up her role. Richard also wants to see more of Eileen, so he tells her he’s going to give the “Bombshell” story to another writer. She seems more than fine with this, as long as she still gets her cover page article.
Derek finds Jimmy actually going through people’s coats, searching for money and jewelry. Jimmy explains that he’s in trouble and owes the dealer $8,000. Surprisingly, Derek says he can help him. Speaking of Derek – for some reason, Karen’s dad doesn’t like him… I sort of missed the reason why. He thought Derek was the one sneaking out of her apartment, but realizes it was Jimmy… he thinks maybe it wasn’t such a good idea for Karen to leave “Bombshell,” but she has to lay it down that she made a decision and she’s sticking to it.
While Karen has an argument with her dad, Ivy has one with her mom. Leigh says to Ivy that she needs her to open the show, but Ivy spits back, “After that, I’ll never need you again.” They then sing a sad “Bombshell” song, making everyone, including themselves, cry at rehearsal. Later, Ivy confronts Tom about her mother and says, “We’re not friends. I work for you now, that’s it.” Yikes… looks like Tom just can’t win as a director.
Now that things are nicer again between Julia and Scott, Scott offers her a position as dramaturg on “his show” (I assume he means “Hit List”) since the story apparently needs work. Derek doesn’t know about this, but Scott says he doesn’t need to know. She accepts his offer. So Julia will be double-dipping with both shows like Karen was? Very interesting. Wonder if she’ll have to make a choice in the end?
Jimmy meets his dealer and hands over $8,000 in cash (wow, thanks Derek!) The dealer is shocked and offers him a bag of drugs as a thank you. Jimmy doesn’t want to see him ever again, but does take the bag of drugs (ugh Jimmy!). Before Jimmy leaves, the dealer mentions something about Collins not being Jimmy’s real last name. “Your secret’s safe with me,” he says. Oh boy. Karen will not like this when she finds out.
The show is definitely better than where it was a year ago. It’s less annoying, and the drama is well-timed and the surprises are, for the most part, good. The biggest surprise though, is that the show is now moving to SATURDAY NIGHTS AT 9PM on NBC, starting this Saturday, April 6th. That annoying new show “Ready for Love” will take its place starting Tuesday, April 9th (my birthday!). So… this pretty much sums it up that “Smash” is definitely not doing well, and has a VERY LOW chance (like 1%) of getting renewed for a third season. Ouch.